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Home Design

Smart Kitchen Design Ideas

Kitchens are becoming the hub of well-designed homes, and one of the most important features for homeowners, renters and buyers. At the moment sleek and minimalist solutions reign supreme in modern kitchens, setting the stage for technological innovations and new striking designs. Regardless of whether your home is small or large, what you need is a storage-packed, tech-integrated, state-of-the art smart kitchen!





[caption id="attachment_11582" align="aligncenter" width="687"]Image 1 Source: decoist.com[/caption]

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Smart Looks


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Orderly and spacey kitchens always steal the show. The modern kitchen consists of high end gadgets and appliances that seamlessly blend into the layout, preserving the sleek minimalistic design but also achieving the much-needed practicality. 

An example of such an appliance is the induction cooktop. This product is preferable to a traditional gas stove as it is safer, faster and simply more energy efficient. I had a very positive experience with the service I called to install my euro appliances stove.

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Make the Most of Your Space


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When it comes to cupboards, drawers and pantries, maximising your storage space is always a top priority. Make the most of narrow, floor-to-ceiling cabinets by installing a pull-out pantry with multiple built in shelves. Maximise storage capacity in kitchen cupboards through use of carousels and swing-out units. Finally consider investing in a few wall storage units to against minimise bench space used. 

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The Internet of Things 


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"The Internet of Things" is the theory that everyday objects will one day have internet connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. This means that kitchen appliances will one day have a say in what you should cook, purchase at the grocery store and so on. 

Although this idea seems remote and futuristic, in actuality we are much closer than we think. We already have high-tech touchscreen cooktops, smart ovens that can be controlled remotely via smartphone and even refrigerators that can warn you when you're low on milk!

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Small Blessings


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It's often the small blessings in life that makes everything amazing. So why not invest in a smart coffee maker, which memorises your ideal cup? Or maybe instead a pan integrated with the iPhone, allowing you to easily monitor the heat and cook the most delicious meals?


Finally you could opt for a Prep Pad. It is essentially an electronic scale that helps you track your food intake via providing calories and nutritional breakdown for every single ingredient.


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A New Order


[caption id="attachment_11587" align="aligncenter" width="743"]Image 4 Source: decoist.com[/caption]

Smart kitchen design requires savvy planning, and a proper investment. The goal is to merge the impeccable functionality of latest tech marvels with the stunning design style. Remember your kitchen should be a place of comfort where you can kick back and relax, whilst also being able to double as an entertaining venue for friends and family. Just remember when designing your space that everything should have its place in the visual order of things, and be close at hand when you need it.

How to Choose between Aluminium and Steel Fencing for Your Home


Aluminium and steel can both be used for high quality fencing. Although they might look similar, in actuality each material has a distinctive set of characteristics that have differing advantages and disadvantages.  While they are both durable, it is important to choose the right material for your home. Before you make your decision, study the pros and cons of each to ensure that you are happy with your fencing for years to come!



[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="455"] Source: www.archdaily.com[/caption]

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Steel Fencing


Stainless steel is a stronger, more secure and is less likely to be damaged. It's the ideal choice when you need strength and impact resistance. Therefore they are often used by those in the construction and resources industry as it ensures a sturdy safety barricade.

Steel's strength and weight also makes it ideal for fencing that has to stand up against strong winds and threats like falling trees. It is also the ideal material for use as security fencing or for security gates.

The main issue associated with steel is its weight. It can be difficult to transport and install. However if you are looking for fencing that’ll last a lifetime, look no further than fences made of steel.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="664"] Source: www.pinterest.com[/caption]

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Aluminium Fencing


Aluminium fencing is an inexpensive alternative to materials like steel or iron, which can help you stay under budget when building or renovating your home. It is also lightweight and naturally resistant to corrosion and rust caused by the elements.

Because it's so lightweight it isn't as strong as steel, and hence the fencing will be hence is easier to bend and less likely to withstand damage.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="564"]m-house by Tamizo architects group, Poland: Source: pinterest.com[/caption]

Aluminium has the added advantage of being the most environmentally friendly fencing metal because it is easily recyclable. Melting the aluminium to create a new product uses less than 10 percent of the energy that was needed to create the original aluminium product.

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So What Should You Choose?


Use steel where strength and impact resistance is important. Aluminium is a better choice for use around a coastal property, as salt water won't result in corrosion.

Aesthetically, both steel and aluminium are both good choices. Steel may be a better choice for a classic wrought-iron look fence, while aluminium may be better for a more modern appearance.

Regardless of what you choose a quality fence made of either material will be a worthy investment and practical addition to your home.

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Author bio: This article was written by Madina Azamy from The Temporary Fencing Shop, specialists in all temp fencing products and temporary pool fencing across Australia.

How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter

Once again winter is almost upon us, and the cold weather has already begun to set in. If you haven't already, now's the time to prepare your yard for cold temperatures and the various forms of precipitation and conditions that come with it. As a homeowner its your responsibility to care for your yard. It can initially seem like a daunting task, but here is our comprehensive guide to help you prepare your yard for winter. 


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Tree Bracing and Pruning


Pruning an fruit tree - Cutting Branches at spring

Winter weather can pose particular risks to your trees with high winds and - depending upon where you live - maybe even snows, potentially causing them to snap. Bracing your trees is something you should certainly consider, especially if you have young trees that could be more susceptible to this type of damage. It doesn't take much. For smaller trees between 10 and 12 feet tall, wooden stakes will suffice. Other options include:

  • Guying anchors



  • Anchors and stem attachments



  • Wires/ropes attached to stem


This is also a great time to take care of pruning. In fact, 90 percent of deciduous pruning can be completed on a sunny day during this time of year. This is a chance for you to remove undesirable branches, thin the canopy, and remove branches that could pose a danger to your home in the event of a severe storm or other extreme winter weather. 

 

Don't Stop Mowing Yet


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Many people put up the lawnmower once the temperatures begin to drop. However, some grasses (such as bluegrass and fescue) actually thrive in cooler temperatures. Unless the ground is frozen, you should still mow your lawn once every two weeks. This promotes aesthetic appeal and encourages continued growth. 

 

Addressing Fall Leaves


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They are beautiful for a moment, but you're soon left with dull, crunchy leaves scattered throughout your yard. Although it's tedious, it's important to take the time to either mulch or rake the yard to best ensure your grass isn't smothered and you have a clean slate to work with when spring rolls around.

 

Light Up the Sidewalks


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With the span of day decreasing, and number of darker hours increasing its important to always have a well lit pathways and sidewalks around your house. LED Garden and Outdoor Lights are ideal for fixing this issue. With stainless steel and a superior polish finish not only are these lights attractive, but they are waterproof and essentially resistant to a multitude of weather conditions.

 

A Time Investment That Pays Off


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Your yard is the first thing people see when they drive by or visit your property, and first impressions count. Preparing your yard against harsh winter weather takes time and effort, but the investment of your time and money will definitely pay off in the following months to come. Winter is almost here! So nows the time for you to put these ideas and tips into action!

The Future Is Now: Practical Tips for a Sustainable Home

For some time now, our society has been aware of the damage the human race has inflicted on our Earth.  They have also developed a sense of awareness and have realised that we need to take drastic measures to right our wrongs. An example of such a measure is green living. Although, nowadays the need for a sustainable household has become much more than just a vehicle to reduce carbon footprint -- it has become a trend in architecture and a way to increase the value of your property. So if you wish to discover practical tips for a sustainable home read on...


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Eco-Friendly Insulation


No matter how technology changes, insulation will always be the best way to save energy and lower your heating bills. It is also an ideal way to boost your green profile. There are various types of insulation to choose from, but the three types we recommend are recycled-content insulation, cellulose insulation or formaldehyde-free insulation. Furthermore the thicker the insulation, the better, as it traps more heat.

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Using Sun’s Energy




Humans have always looked up to the stars for answers, and the brightest of them all has the solution to your problems. Using the newest solar panel designs and technology you too can use the suns radiation to power your home.

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Double Glazed Windows




Single glazed windows provide minimal thermal and noise insulation. Opting for retro-fitted double glazed windows can significantly improve the quality of life in your home, and reduce green house gas emissions. This in turn cuts your energy costs, and increases the value of your property. Luckily enough, you don't even need to replace the entire window, but can simply can get it installed to fit your pre-existing design. 

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“Green” Lighting


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You would be surprised how much energy can be saved if you simply replace your old light bulbs with new, energy-efficient ones. For example, LED light bulbs can reduce energy bills up to 90%, and most have an expected lifespan of 20 years. Nowadays LED lights come in multiple styles and range significantly in price, allowing them to be incorporated into every decor style and match every budget. 

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Vintage = Eco-friendly


[caption id="attachment_10890" align="aligncenter" width="663"]vintage decor Source: nunussecrets.blogspot.com[/caption]

The beauty of vintage décor is that it can be pulled off through the eco-friendly practice of repurposing. This of course requires you to take some trips to markets to acquire unique furniture and accessories. Overall, you get to both save cash, and reduce the volume of your waste.

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Try Minimalism


[caption id="attachment_10888" align="alignleft" width="698"]sustainable home, decor Image source: fabryshouse.com[/caption]

On the other hand, modern minimalist décor can also be “green”. Just imagine the ultimate combo of that funky table made of recycled wood, and hanging LED lights. Essentially just remember less is more, and again opt for second-hand items. 

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Literally Make Your House Green


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Green walls are trend initially made famous by A-list celebrities, but now you too can have one in your home! Not only does it improve the quality of your air, but incorporating nature into indoor spaces has also been found to reduce stress and improve wellbeing. The wall is also visually appealing, and can add a well need pop of colour into a dull space. 

Overall, theres no point in looking back to the past. The future is just ahead of us, and its time we take action to make it as green as possible.

 

4 Free Online Interior Design Planning Tools

When designing homes and drawing up room plans you often change your mind. Instead of facing the tedious task of having to draft and redraft copies of a paper floor plan, you can alternatively opt for using free online interior design planning tools. These programs are not only fun to play with, but can provide you with accurate 3D renderings that'll allow you to visualise what the room will look like from all angles. Therefore, you can try out all your ideas before you have to commit to them in real life.


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1. Autodesk Homestyler


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Autodesk Homestyler is a super simple and quick way to produce 3D floor plans. Just drag and drop rooms and expand with room additions to quickly design your dream house. This program additionally allows you to play with decorations and accessories, really allowing you to visualise what your rooms will look like. It also gives you access to the library of designs other people have created using the program which is handy!

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2. Homebase


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Like Homestyler, Homebase offers you a room planning program. Its a little harder to work than the aforementioned program and often takes time to buffer and load, but it still provides you with a high quality 3D representation of your design. Although, where homebase really proves its worth is with its range of free calculators. The flooring calculator, paint calculator, wallpaper calculator, tiling calculator and insulator calculator can all help you determine the quantities of materials you will require to build, eliminating wasteful excesses and irritating shortages.

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3. Magnet


Magnet is a tool specifically designed for kitchen design. You can either start from scratch, or use one of their predesigned rooms if you need a helping hand. You can then choose where to place your kitchen cabinetry, worktops, lighting, chairs etc. You can easily swap between 3D and 2D, and also between top and front views.

 

4. SketchUp


Lastly we have SketchUp: an incredible popular and well functioning modelling software commonly used by interior designers worldwide. You can opt for either the free or paid version, but either gives you a wide range of functions. Unfortunately its not the easiest software to use, but lucky for you there are many tutorials on offer. I would highly recommend investing some time and money into understanding the software to save time and stress.

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So if your looking for a simpler and more flexible alternative to paper floor plans check out these 4 free online interior design planning tools. Each has its merits and disadvantages so test them all to find the one that is best suited to you! Check out this article from 'Interior Style Hunters' for more information.

How to Take Good Care of Your Garden

We all know it can be tricky to keep your garden in top shape. Unless you're the ultimate green thumb you're always going to run into a bit of trouble here and there. Thats why I've compiled a list of handy tips and tricks that'll help you take good care of your garden in an eco-friendly friendly, sustainable and chemical free way.



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Opt for Native Plants


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="555"] Source: pinterest.com[/caption]


Many people believe exotic and unique plants will ultimately make their garden better. While they may be bright in colour or emanate refreshing scents, they just mightn't been suited to the specific conditions of your garden. Instead, opt for native flowers and trees as they will already be suited to the temperature, soil and humidity. Not only will they be easier to care for, but they will also bloom more successfully. Overall use of native plants will leave you with a landscape many would be envious of.


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Use an Automatic Watering System002


Setting up an automatic watering system is an easy way to keep your garden hydrated. It is important to acknowledge that they can sometimes be a little pricy, and can take some time and effort to get working, but they are ultimately an incredibly useful and arguably necessary purchase. Alternatively you could opt for a spray tank, which are perfect for spraying water out around your garden.


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Use Mulch


[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="715"] Source: www.publicdomainpictures.net[/caption]


You need to protect and nurture your plants, and mulch is an easy way to do this. It can help them withstand colder temperatures, and provide nutrients to support growth. The problem is that mulch commonly contains heaps of unwanted chemicals and pesticides which could negatively impact the environment in the long run. Therefore, choose to make your own mulch! By the time spring rolls around your plants will not only look healthier, but making your own mulch will also save your money!


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Overall, your garden has the ability to influence your homes design and feel. Taking good care of your garden will require you to invest some time and money, but it the long run you will definitely reap the rewards. Hopefully these tips and tricks have helped you out!


How to Style a Holiday Home

Regardless of whether you own your own holiday house, or simply return to the same property year after year, holiday homes hold a special place in the hearts of many Australians. When you think about the best houses you've visited, or even just the ones in magazines, you'll notice that they all share that essential 'vacation vibe'. This feeling is the combination of a great location, loving friends, family and of course the interior styling and decoration! Whether you intend on purchasing a home for your own use or for renting out to others, follow this guide on how to properly style a holiday home!



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Observe Your Surroundings


Let your surroundings inspire you. Talk a walk in the area surrounding your property, and absorb the colours, texture and overall atmosphere associated with the environment. Try and incorporate some of these elements into your home. For example, the house depicted above has incorporated the rustic nature of the bushland into the home through use of wood panelling.

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Create a Calm Atmosphere 


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Whats the main reason you go on holiday? Generally its to rest, relax and re-charge. Therefore you obviously need to create a calming atmosphere. This can be achieved through use of peaceful colours (whites and creams) and opting for a minimalistic look to avoid clutter.

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Select Appropriate Lighting




You want to use soft atmospheric lighting, and avoid bright artificial lights. Therefore opt for large windows to let in as much light as possible. When selecting downlighting opt for LED lights in warm white (2700K - 3000K) which is more suitable than a natural or cool white.

 

Consider the climate


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Is this a beach house or cabin the the mountains? You have to style each accordingly. Incorporate cooler shades of blue, green and white in hotter climates, and warmer shades in earthy tones in colder climates.

 

Pick Suitable Storage




Storage is vital as you don't want clutter. Make sure you have enough cupboards, boxes, hooks and shelves to keep the floors and bench tops clear. This versatile unit displayed above houses your shoes, toys, towels, books and decorative pieces and additionally acts as a seat and coat rack.

 

Select Furniture


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What you choose can immensely impact the overall feel of your residence. Lets start with seating: do you want one big couch or multiple smaller chairs? You need to consider quality and finishes. In a beach house try lighter coloured couches with linen finish, whilst in a farm or cabin try darker couches with softer, warmer fabrics.

Next consider dining arrangements: wooden tables are suitable in almost all properties. Again, stick to lighter coloured wood with simple white chairs for a beach residence, and darker woods for cabins. Just remember to always consider functionality and suitability.

 

Accessorise 




Choose carefully, as accessories can be very powerful. Used correctly they can create illusion of greater space, and add to the overall atmosphere of the residence. It would be wise to select a theme of carry it throughout the residence. For example: modern, nautical, rustic, retro, shack or cottage. Above we see a modern-nautical fusion: the modernness conveyed by the sleek finishes, straight lines and grey undertones, whilst the nautical elements are present in the stripes cushions, blue-toned glassware and the woven white chairs.

 

Create Your Outdoor Space  




Take your time to create an outdoor area that you can personally relax and enjoy. Whether you'll use it to soak up the sun, enjoy a good book, or sip on a drink, the space should be relaxed and comfortable. Consider wooden beach chairs, couches or funky hanging egg chairs for seating, and remember to investigate into an outdoor table for entertaining and a large umbrella for shade.

 


Overall, take some risks to make the space memorable and unique. Don't be afraid to use bold pieces or try
something that you wouldn't normally attempt. Just remember to be creative and have some fun too!

Easy DIY Renovation Projects

Got something that needs fixing in the house, but not sure you want to fork out money to pay for it? Try these easy DIY Renovation Projects that'll help you save on labor costs and the mark-up contractors charge for materials. You'll be surprised by the simplicity and oh so pleased with the final product.



 

Fixing Kitchen Cabinets




Option 1: Refinish existing cabinet doors. This can be done by through use of paint, stain or laminate.
Option 2: Reface cabinets. This involves putting new doors on existing kitchen boxes. Hint: Before ordering the whole set purchase one door and one drawer to check the dimensions and the overall look.

 

Install New Cabinet Handles 


[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="546"] Source: boltonhandyman.co.uk[/caption]

This ones super simple. All you have to do is select, purchase and then install! To make a huge aesthetic improvement in your house replace wooden ones with modern stainless steel ones. Alternatively swap plain glass handles for brighter coloured glass knobs.

 

Install Feature Lighting


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These Feature lights are super simple to do yourself as they simple attach to the existing downlight fixture! Its a quick and easy way to bring style and ambience into a room.

 

Insulate the Attic and Other Energy-Sucking Areas


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1. Caulk around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards to prevent heat escaping.
2. Service your furnace so its working in top shape. You want it to be producing the most heat at the lowest cost obviously!
3. Insulate pipes with pipe insulation wrap and duct tape to reduce heat loss (depicted above)
4. Buy a “draft guard” for the bottoms of your doors (a cheap fix from $10 per door) so wind or heat doesn’t slip through.

 

Tile the Bathroom Floor or Kitchen Backsplash


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This one is a little trickier -- but very rewarding. Start off by making sure your surface is flat and dry, like a cement or plywood subfloor, an even wall or a tiled surface you want to cover with new tiles. Apply cement in an even layer  and lay tiles over the top. Always remember to use spacers in order to achieve an even arrangement of tiles.

 

Replace Faucets and Fixtures


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A new, modern faucet can make a sink in your kitchen or bathroom look brand new again. As long as the new fixtures don’t require a smaller hole in the furniture or sink than the one that’s already there, it’s an easy upgrade. Try this cosmopolitan matte black tap ware for a bold and striking upgrade.

 

Re-paint


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Its obvious, I know, but a simple coat of paint has the power to change the entire look of a room. You could repaint your entire room, or you could simply try out a feature wall. Even just repainting window and door frames can uplift the look and feel of a house!

So go on and try some of these super easy DIY renovation projects!

Ultimate Kitchen Style Guide

Whether you are redecorating your kitchen, or are completely starting from scratch it is important to choose a style or theme to follow. This will not only make decorating the space easier, but it will overall create a greater sense of cohesion and organisation. Without further adieu here is the ultimate kitchen style guide!


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Tuscan


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A Tuscan kitchen should be full of warmth and light. This is easily achieved through selection of warm colours and sunset like tones. Other features commonly included are touches of wooden, inclusion of stone or brickwork, detailed tile work and touches of copper. Overall the kitchen should be an inviting family friendly space, yet also convey an air of casual elegance.


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Shabby Chic
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This style is very in at the moment. The aim is to achieve a distressed and vintage feel. If you have a strict budget to stick to this might be perfect. Instead of going out and buying new stuff, the shabby chic look involves refurnishing, repainting and distressing. The more wear the better! Colours commonly used are off whites, weathered greys, light blues, pale yellows and pinks.


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Traditional 


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The traditional kitchen is always a classic choice. It should be timeless, yet fresh. Features include glass-fronted doors and cabinetry, a multipurpose island and sleek stone countertops. The traditional colour to choose is white or cream, with accents of black, grey or brown.


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Modern


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The modern kitchen can be a little tricky at times, but if done right it will truly be a masterpiece. Straight lines, sleek features, matte finishes and monochromatic colour schemes are all common features. Black tap ware is quite popular at the moment too.


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Contemporary


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The contemporary kitchen style allows you to branch out in many ways. Main idea: keep the design sleek and chic. Commonly includes wooden detailing and is generally minimalistic in design. Great to try if you have a smaller kitchen.


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Rustic


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Key to a rustic kitchen: wood (and lots of it). This style is more bold and bulky in comparison to others. Features include wooden cabinets and and beams, stone or brick detailing and low hanging lights over the central island. Bears similarities to tuscan.


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Cottage 


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Generally has a subtle and light colour scheme. Commonly have oak floorboards, painted cabinets and patterned fabrics. Think vintage-inspired and casual features.


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Industrial


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Stylish and utilitarian. Sleek metalwork is the main focus of this style. For example, metal pipes, bench tops, ovens, cabinets... you name it. Other features may include wood, exposed brick or sleek subway tiling as depicted above.

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Things to Remember!!!


Conducting research before you start is a good way to save time and money. Pick a style that you love, but is also realistic for your budget. Remember to be practical and consider the size of your kitchen, its functionality and if the theme will suit the rest of the household. Once you've selected a style start looking for inspiration: trawl Pinterest, read magazines and visit model homes to get your imagination flowing. We hope the ultimate kitchen style guide can help you create the kitchen of your dreams!

Baby-proofing Your Backyard: Keep Your Outdoor Spaces Safe for Infants

Imagine being let loose in a whole new environment, with a cavalcade of sensory stimuli that you are yet to experience. Then imagine that you have no concept of danger or personal harm. Now you can see why you can never be too careful when baby-proofing your backyard. Therefore, we have compiled some handy tips to help you do just that! Read on to discover how to keep your child safe as the learn and explore the fascinating world around them.


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Water Features


Water is one of the most dangerous features of your backyard. A child can drown in only six centimetres of water, which means that everything from shallow water features to full size pools can be hazardous to your infant.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="676"] Source: www.elitepondcovers.co.uk[/caption]

Cover pools or ponds where possible, a simple pool cover or pond cover is generally effective. If you have a separate pond area in your garden, secure it with a sturdy locked gate. Even with these precautions in place, you should never leave your infant unattended near water, even if just for a moment.

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Garden Tools and Implements


Garden tools; great for keeping your backyard neat and tidy, but potentially harmful for your little bundle of energy. There’s a simple way to avoid the dangers associated with garden implements, and that is to invest in a good quality garden shed. Young kids have a knack for getting into seemingly impossible spaces, so if your shed is looking a bit dilapidated, it might be time for a revamp.

[caption id="attachment_10850" align="aligncenter" width="420"]IMG_9997-420x480 Source: http://kariphotography.com/blog[/caption]

The same applies to pesticides and any other chemicals. Always keep these locked away, store them in clearly labelled containers and never use them in your yard before or during your baby arrives.

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Impromptu Escapes


You just can’t reason with a baby; telling him or her not to venture out by themselves is simply not going to work. For this reason, you need to be extra careful. Make sure all pet doors and flaps that are big enough for your child to fit through are kept locked and secured, and fit childproof safety locks on all windows and doors.

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It’s also worth investing in outdoor lighting with built in sensors. These handy devices will come on automatically when they sense movement at night, giving you a useful warning if your baby does manage to get out into the garden by themselves after dark.

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General Hints


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  • Think like a baby: A baby’s view of the world is a little different from ours, so get down on your hands and knees and identify any nooks and crannies your baby might want to get into.



  • Keep emergency numbers near the back door: It is worth writing down a load of emergency numbers and keeping them on a pad near the back door, giving you an easy means of summoning help if something bad happens.



  • Be aware the sun: We all know that UV rays in sunlight can damage the skin, but we sometimes overlook its other effects. Strong sun can make your baby’s play slide or another surface dangerously hot; always remember to test the surface with your forearm before allowing your infant to use it.



  • Check and double-check your plants: Make sure that the plants in your garden will not harm your baby if ingested, and keep any harmful plants well out of your child’s reach. This requires a bit of research, but it is well worth it.



  • The softer the better: Installing a play area in your garden is a great idea; just make sure that it is equipped with soft landing areas for your children, should they fall. These are easy to get hold of and to install.


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Can you think of anything we can add to our list? Get in touch and let us know.

Author bio: This article was written by the team at Monsterball Amusements & Hire who can create an amusement park in your backyard equipped with Bouncy Castles, Water Slides, Bubble Soccer, Zorb Balls and more!
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